July 12, Sunday

UPDATED Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Peter Yoon of Kairos Christian Church in San Diego, is an updated version of his blog first posted on May 31, 2014.  Peter is a graduate of University of California, Riverside (BA) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“What Grade Will Your Church Get?”

 Philippians 1:6

Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

angela-bailey-75RsMxVoiDc-unsplashSport analysts often give grades to each team after a draft day. That’s the day in which collegiate athletes are drafted by professional teams that hope to find the next Michael Jordan or Lebron James. Some teams are given a confident outlook of the future and receive an “A” grade from the analysts. Other teams are given the horrid “F” and is projected to continue as losers in a highly competitive market. Sometimes they are right, while a lot of the times, they get it wrong.

In his letter to the Philippian church, Paul hands out a strong grade for the Philippian congregation. In this verse, he gives a greatly confident outlook as the day of Jesus was approaching. What made him so sure? Certainly, it was not the confidence in the people.

Every church gathers to herself broken people: fearful, proud, jealous, and the undisciplined people from all around. Eventually, you start noticing these flaws in your own church members. The Philippian church was also a gathering of flawed people. There were the typical grumblers and complainers, those who worried more than necessary, those who bragged and boasted about their accomplishments, thereby making others feel inferior. In fact, Paul goes as far as naming two ladies who kept bickering with each other, causing disunity in the body (4:2-3). However, despite such problematic people, Paul held a confident outlook about the Philippian church.

So how did the apostle manage to remain so upbeat?  First, we see that Paul’s focus seem to be on God, the One who starts a good work in a person, a community, or in a city. That is, the active agent here is God, not necessarily the Philippians believers. Second, that singular focus on God provides Paul the reassuring confidence that the good work of God will continue until the end, despite our brokenness. (Of course, there is the assumption that the believers of the Philippian church are yielding to the work of the Spirit.)

Perhaps, you are serving the Lord and have lost confidence in your church. Maybe you wonder whether things will ever get better for your small group members, or you are fighting ministry fatigue and discouragement.  During this COVID-19 season, many pastors are greatly concerned about the state of their church affected by a prolong social isolation.  But as long as you and the people in your church are seeking the Lord, be encouraged that as the day of the Lord approaches, God Himself is at work faithfully and will bring your church, small group, or ministry to maturity.

Prayer: Lord, keep my eyes focused upon You. You are the Author and the Perfecter of our faith. You began this family of God in Your sovereignty and Your purpose. You will faithfully mature our church, our people, our pastors, and our children. I admit my own perception of reality often depresses me, and I wonder if it’s even worth it. Renew my heart today. Lord, fix my eyes upon You and help me to also experience this confidence that Paul held. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: 1 Corinthians 4

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